George R.R. Martin weighs in on that polarizing scene from 'Breaker of Chains'

Contributed by
Apr 22, 2014, 3:48 PM EDT

The events from the last GoT ep, Breaker of Chains, were controversial enough to bring out the big man himself to talk about them.

Yesterday, we talked about how Jaime and Cersei's sex scene in the sept was adapted from consensual in the books to rape on the show. And the big issue there was that some fans were saying, "Hey, this is finally a bridge too far." Enough people jumped onto that idea (whether they agreed with it or not) to merit a response from George R. R. Martin himself, who was a bit contrite about the whole affair while still hoping to explain the change:

I think the "butterfly effect" that I have spoken of so often was at work here. In the novels, Jaime is not present at Joffrey's death, and indeed, Cersei has been fearful that he is dead himself, that she has lost both the son and the father/ lover/ brother. And then suddenly Jaime is there before her. Maimed and changed, but Jaime nonetheless. Though the time and place is wildly inappropriate and Cersei is fearful of discovery, she is as hungry for him as he is for her.

The whole dynamic is different in the show, where Jaime has been back for weeks at the least, maybe longer, and he and Cersei have been in each other's company on numerous occasions, often quarreling. The setting is the same, but neither character is in the same place as in the books, which may be why Dan & David played the sept out differently. But that's just my surmise; we never discussed this scene, to the best of my recollection.

Also, I was writing the scene from Jaime's POV, so the reader is inside his head, hearing his thoughts. On the TV show, the camera is necessarily external. You don't know what anyone is thinking or feeling, just what they are saying and doing.

If the show had retained some of Cersei's dialogue from the books, it might have left a somewhat different impression -- but that dialogue was very much shaped by the circumstances of the books, delivered by a woman who is seeing her lover again for the first time after a long while apart during which she feared he was dead. I am not sure it would have worked with the new timeline.

That's really all I can say on this issue. The scene was always intended to be disturbing... but I do regret if it has disturbed people for the wrong reasons.

Martin should be given some due credit here for both being very diplomatic in his handling of both the fans and the show's creators, and also for giving a really solid explanation for why the change isn't all bad within the context of the narrative. Because, yeah, those circumstances are very different, and so it's not unthinkable that the scene might play out in this different manner.

Now, whether or not that's enough to satisfy those who feel that adding rape to a narrative that didn't exist prior is hurtful from a social context is a whole other ball of wax. 

What do you make of Martin's interpretation?

(via Badass Digest)

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